ITTO has published its report on tropical timber markets for the period 1-15 March 2023.
The main issues concern U.S. imports of hardwood plywood, which in January 2023 reached their lowest level since 2010. The slowdown in EU27 tropical timber imports due to the deteriorating economic outlook: in terms of value, EU27 tropical timber and wood furniture imports amounted to US$1.94 billion in the second half of 2022, 20% lower than the US$2.42 billion in the first half of the year. However, the value of imports remained high in the second half of 2022 compared to the average figures for the previous ten years. In terms of quantity, total EU27 imports of tropical timber and wooden furniture, at 414,000 tons in the fourth quarter of last year, were down 18% from the previous quarter and well below the quarterly average of around 450,000 tons recorded over the past decade.
The report also discusses the shift to a new "norm" in the West African timber trade with only a few countries still exporting significant volumes of logs (the ban on log exports in the region has stimulated demand for mobile sawmills and harvesting is more selective to meet current international market demand); the study by Rougier and Flying Whales of the possibility of transporting logs by air, with Flying Whales designing airships capable of carrying loads of up to 60 tons; the strengthening in Indonesia of the VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) through Broader Market Recognition (BMR), the objective being to encourage tropical timber producing countries that have negotiated or plan to negotiate VPAs. The Director General of Sustainable Forest Management at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Agus Justianto, said that producing countries need greater market recognition of their national systems through partnerships based on trust, respect and mutual benefit.
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